THE ANTICHRIST
By
Friedrich Nietzsche
Translation: H.L. Mencken

51.

Christianity also stands in opposition to all intellectual well-being,--sick reasoning is the only sort that it can use as Christian reasoning; it takes the side of everything that is idiotic; it pronounces a curse upon "intellect," upon the superbia of the healthy intellect. Since sickness is inherent in Christianity, it follows that the typically Christian state of "faith" must be a form of sickness too, and that all straight, straightforward and scientific paths to knowledge must be banned by the church as forbidden ways. Doubt is thus a sin from the start. . . . The complete lack of psychological cleanliness in the priest--revealed by a glance at him--is a phenomenon resulting from decadence,--one may observe in hysterical women and in rachitic children how regularly the falsification of instincts, delight in lying for the mere sake of lying, and incapacity for looking straight and walking straight are symptoms of decadence. "Faith" means the will to avoid knowing what is true. The pietist, the priest of either sex, is a fraud because he is sick: his instinct demands that the truth shall never be allowed its rights on any point. "Whatever makes for illness is good; whatever issues from abundance, from super-abundance, from power, is evil": so argues the believer. The impulse to lie--it is by this that I recognize every foreordained theologian.--Another characteristic of the theologian is his unfitness for philology. What I here mean by philology is, in a general sense, the art of reading with profit--the capacity for absorbing facts without interpreting them falsely, and without losing caution, patience and subtlety in the effort to understand them. Philology as ephexis24 in interpretation: whether one be dealing with books, with newspaper reports, with the most fateful events or with weather statistics--not to mention the "salvation of the soul." . . . The way in which a theologian, whether in Berlin or in Rome, is ready to explain, say, a "passage of Scripture," or an experience, or a victory by the national army, by turning upon it the high illumination of the Psalms of David, is always so daring that it is enough to make a philologian run up a wall. But what shall he do when pietists and other such cows from Suabia25 use the "finger of God" to convert their miserably commonplace and huggermugger existence into a miracle of "grace," a "providence" and an "experience of salvation"? The most modest exercise of the intellect, not to say of decency, should certainly be enough to convince these interpreters of the perfect childishness and unworthiness of such a misuse of the divine digital dexterity. However small our piety, if we ever encountered a God who always cured us of a cold in the head at just the right time, or got us into our carriage at the very instant heavy rain began to fall, he would seem so absurd a God that he'd have to be abolished even if he existed. God as a domestic servant, as a letter carrier, as an almanac--man--at bottom, he is' a mere name for the stupidest sort of chance. . . . "Divine Providence," which every third man in "educated Germany" still believes in, is so strong an argument against God that it would be impossible to think of a stronger. And in any case it is an argument against Germans! . . .

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